Last night, after the NBA Draft finally came to a close, we got to hear from Bulls executive vice president John Paxson.
I’m sure plenty of you weren’t dying to hear from the man, but he gave a solid press conference where he only managed to have one awkward moment (you can see it in its entirety below).
But if you start at around the 3:30 mark and hang around, you’ll get to hear Paxson list off all the players the Bulls have acquired over the past couple years… while forgetting to mention Kris Dunn (which … LOL). It’s eventually brought to his attention that he forgot the 25-year-old point guard and he goes on to apologize, but yeah, it’s all pretty uncomfortable.
Paxson wasn’t shy about voicing his displeasure at the point guard position this season, bringing up in most post-season interviews that the organization would try to bring in competition to challenge Dunn for the starting role. But forgetting to even mention him is kind of another level of cold. Nevertheless, I’ll try to give him the benefit of the doubt by understanding it was a long night and accidents happen. Plus, this whole moment just feels escalated due to the general circus surrounding the point guard position.
Other than that slip-up though, Paxson keeps things focused on the team’s draft night.
He wasn’t hesitant to remind everyone the Bulls are dealing with two young players that are far from a finished product. With White specifically at 19-years-old, Paxson spoke on how the organization fully expects for him to “learn and grow” in this newfound situation. Somewhat surprisingly, I do think the way he spoke of White in regards to the logistical basketball questions were well thought out. You don’t want to throw too much added pressure on the new, young point guard whom you expect to be a part of your franchise for the long haul.
For example, Paxson was asked about his level of confidence in a White and Zach LaVine defensive backcourt (the thought just scares you doesn’t it?). Neither player is necessarily known for his defensive prowess, which has especially been a recent critique on the 24-year-old LaVine. Paxson focused on White though, mentioning with his six-foot-five frame and quick feet that he has all the tools to be a good defensive player, which I would agree with.
He went on to, once again, stress the developmental process that goes into this: “We will see how that develops, we think Coby can be a good defender, but he’s young. There are guys that come into this league, there’s a learning curve, I don’t care who you are or what position you play, he’ll be challenged every night guarding some really good players.”
Another great question asked during the press conference (shoutout to Chicago media!) was touching on the future identity of the Bulls. Coby White adds the opportunity to play a very fast-paced offensive game and work in transition more often than the typical Boylen half-court set. I touched on this further in my article about Coby’s positive remarks on Boylen, but the idea of the Bulls adjusting more-so to White (who, ya know, represents the current NBA) will likely be a trend they start to follow.
“If you study our game it’s a quicker-paced game, a more open game, spacing the floor… We have Chris Fleming now who has a very bright offensive mind who believes in a quicker pace, some of the actions out of that will be really good for our team,” Paxson said.
The original Boylen-ball approach of feeding through the post may not have been the best decision, but the team seems to be taking the right steps towards building a group that competes in today’s NBA.
In general, there are a lot of positive takeaways right now, but with a whole offseason ahead of us, there is room for the Bulls to take a step backward (TRUST NO ONE!). We will surely have to keep a watchful eye on how things continue to go with free agency right around the corner.
If you’re interested in watching the whole Paxson press conference, here is a live stream of it.
— Tony Gill (@tonygill670) June 21, 2019